Knowing what type of heating system that heats your home is essential for every homeowner. One of the first steps is to "familiarize" yourself with all your home's basic components. This is also one of the first questions a service or repair company will ask of you.
What type of heating system heats your home?
Be prepared to know the answers to many basic questions asked of you about YOUR home. Take a look around in your basement and your attic, systems can be installed in either area.
Sometimes there may be more than one system heating your home. There may have been an addition made to the existing house and another system installed.
Also check to make sure there is not a system that is NOT hooked up to your house. When renovations are made usually the old system is taken out, but not always.
FORCED HOT AIR OR (FHA)
This type of system is the most common system installed. Most forced hot air systems have the option to install air conditioning during the installation or easily add to the existing system at a later date.
The main component is the heat exchange and the blower. Cool air is brought into the furnace and heated. When the blower turns on it sends the warm air to the duct system. The duct work or duct system is attached to the furnace and supplies hot air to each room. The warm air then flows thru the register grills located in each room inside the home. The grills or common called registers could be on the floor or in the walls high or low.
FORCED HOT WATER OR (FHW)
This is another popular system and it's main component is a boiler with a circulating pump attached to water lines from the unit.
The pump sends the hot water thru the pipes to your baseboard along the walls of the house.
Unlike conventional systems that heat or cool by forcing air through large, bulky ducting, Hydro-Air systems deliver total comfort without any ducting whatsoever. Hydro-Air utilizes small, efficient hydronic fan coil wall units in each room that distribute either heating energy from your central water heater or boiler or cooling energy from a standard outdoor air conditioning unit.
Radiant heating systems supply heat directly to the floor or to panels in the wall or ceiling of a house. The systems depend largely on radiant heat transfer -- the delivery of heat directly from the hot surface to the people and objects in the room via infrared radiation. Radiant heating is the effect you feel when you can feel the warmth of a hot stovetop element from across the room. When radiant heating is located in the floor, it is often called radiant floor heating or simply floor heating. The heat takes longer to acquire the exact temperature that the thermostat is set and is great for kitchen and bathroom floors.
Steam radiators are units along the wall that are usually three feet in height. This is a system that is usually seen in older homes. They are made of cast iron with a vent on the side near the floor.
Electric baseboard heat is also run along the walls of your house except much shorter elements. They have heating elements inside that heat up with elctricity to produce the heat. They do not have fins inside the the FHW baseboard elements. Depending on the baseboard there may be a dial on the baseboard to operate. Usually looking inside the baseboard is the best indication of which style you have for a heating system.
Heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house and during the cooling season, heat pumps move heat from your cool house into the warm outdoors. Because they move heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can provide up to 4 times the amount of energy they consume.